Skip to comments.LBJ's Great Society: 40 Years Later
Posted on 09/12/2005 5:51:41 PM PDT by StoneGiant
LBJ's Great Society: 40 Years Later
1964 was a very busy year for Lyndon Johnson. First he rammed through Congress the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, giving him war powers in Vietnam. Next he signed into Law the now famous or infamous, depending on ones political slant, Civil Rights Act. He called this ambitious undertaking his "Guns and Butter" program. The first part of this equation to go sour was the war effort. Johnson treated the war like a political problem that he could solve by twisting the arms of Ho and Giap the same way he had got things done in the Senate for so many years. When this strategy failed to produce results he next tried to micro-manage the war from the Oval Office as if it were a giant chess game with our troops as the pawns. He went so far as to select bombing targets and to turn missions on and off like a switch with a carrot-on-a-stick approach to entice Ho to the peace table. Meanwhile on the home front, with his Great Society and War on Poverty programs, he was socially engineering our country into a welfare state while funding a military adventure overseas. When asked by a reporter if it was fiscally prudent to fund a war effort and his social programs at the same time he replied, "Heck yeah man, we're rich".
When Cronkite abandoned him on National TV, as he strolled through the ancient city of Hue with his battle helmet and somber intonations that we were mired in a quagmire and that it was time to seek peace, (code word for surrender), with honor, Johnson folded up like a wet tissue, tucked his tail between his legs, and slinked off back to his ranch in Texas.
As bad as his failure in Vietnam proved to be, the results of his Great Society Programs were far more insidious, deadly and injurious to our Nation's psyche. The mammoth social welfare entitlement programs that streamed out of Washington did more damage to the fabric of our society than any number of Vietnams could have done. The irony is, that the segment of our society that it meant to help, was the one that was most grievously harmed. Of all those who fell victim to the welfare mentality, none suffered more than the black communities.
In the fifties, although blacks were still struggling for equal oppertunities and were on the low end of the economic ladder, the black family was for the most part strong and stable. Two parent families were the rule, not the exception. They attended church together, had strong moral values, and did not comprise a majority of the prison population. Compare that to the present state of the black community after 40 years of Liberal Socialism. Our prisons are disproportionably black, unwed mothers and single parent families are the rule, black youths without a strong male role model other than rap stars and basketball players, roam the streets and are drawn into a culture of drugs and crime.
The following statistics are provided by Star Parker's Coalition of Urban Renewal, (CURE).
What was the message of the social programs that came out of LBJ's Great Society? One of the most devestating to the family was that if an unwed woman became pregnant, moved out of the home of her parents, did not name or know who the father was, then Big Daddy in Washington would provide for all her essential needs. Ergo she no longer needed a husband or the support of her family. In fact, the more children she had out of wedlock, the more money she would receive from the government. This program was the death knell for many families, especially in the black community. Unfortunately many black men saw this as the best of all possible worlds. They could father as many children as they wanted, from multiple women, without ever having to accept the responsibility of fatherhood. Many women rejected marriage in favor of a boyfriend who could slip in the back door and not jeopardize her government check. In this dysfunctional culture why would education be important? Why seek an education only to have to compete for a good job in the market place when they could just hang around the neighborhood and have all of life's amenities? In fact studying and getting good grades, for many blacks, became a social stigma. They were called "Uncle Toms" and accused of trying to act "white". Many blacks who had the potential to succeed gave in to this pressure and opted for failure. After all they had the perfect excuse. Did not the NAACP and race hustlers like Jesse Jackson tell them that it was not their fault? That they were just innocent "victims" of white racism?
This is the legacy of LBJ's Great Society.....compassion as defined by Liberalism.
With FDR you got Socialism with the American value of work. Sure ol FDR will give you a make-work job but you had to work for your money. Social Security was another, but you had to WORK to get it. With LBJ you got pure Socialism and transfer of wealth for those that produce nothing. WORST PRESIDENT EVER-LBJ.
Our crackpot immigration policies are a result of the Immigration Bill of 1965--just look what that has done to our country. His Welfare State has been a total disaster.
Agree. What an utter disaster.
I would rescind that forgiveness because since he left the White House he never seems to shut up. Clinton appears to be following in Carter's footsteps in that regard. Most ex-Presidents should be seen (like at funerals for bigshots) but not heard.
Yet, Agnew and Nixon bear more disgrace in their names than Johnson who did far more damage to America.
right on target, the welfare state ruined the nuclear family in the black community, kicked out fathers, made fathers out to be a liability to the welfare payments, kept the blacks in a form of welfare/poverty/slavery, kept them housed and fed and that's about it only to exist. It's a shame and the democrats still take advantage of them at each and every election.
I came across your comments regarding Liberal Socialism and felt inclined to respond, even though it was posted over a year ago.
The author does a poor job documenting his allegation that 40 years of Liberal Socialism is responsible for the plight of the poor.
First, from 1965 to 2005, Republicans were in the White House 24 years, Democrats only 16. Hardly a forty year run without interference and serious reversals, especially during the Reagan years.
Second, Europe and the Far East were busy rebuilding after the world wide massive destruction brought about by World War II. The potential to sell the production of a quickly growing US economy throughout the world had and has never been greater. Those were times when a breadwinner could find, keep and expect to retire from a good union job with pay that was increasing faster than inflation and a complete package of benefits.
Since the gap in pay between the CEO and the entry worker was no where near as obscene as it is today, the wealth from this production was more broadly spread, not only creating a higher standard of living, but even greater market demand. After all, if you or I earn an extra $2000, we are going to buy something, increasing demand. If Bill Gates earns an extra $2000, he probably will not spend one more dime than usual. So no additional demand will grow to offset the growth in supply, production will be reduced, and workers laid off. With so much idle productive capacity, no new investment was needed and the owners of the capital had additional market was under US control, as Europe had abided by the Monroe Doctrines declaration that the US would not share its hemisphere.
Latin America had swung to more popular elected governments, which tried to increase employment and ownership of productive assets for its citizens, the workers and small farmers. They increased employment by increasing local production. And this required increased local demand. Local demand could be increased by substituting locally-made products this is called import substitution an economic policy that would reduce US access to their markets.
And retaining local control of the productive assets and national resources required government control of the flow of capital in and out of the country. This interfered with the ability for US shareholders to invest their excess income in new productive assets. With the limited need for investment in the US, increasingly more idle investment dollars were chasing a fixed or decreasing amount of productive capacity. Inflation of stock prices resulted, ironically making idle investors even richer.
In the late 1960s, early 1970s Nixon and Kissinger collaborated with the Latin American military which US advisors had been training in several countries to implement coup detats, install dictators and impose the Washington Consensus or economic policies of the International Monetary Fund, which reversed the policy of import substitution in order to allow free trade competition. It also called for the unrestricted flow of capital across borders on order to attract needed foreign investors, but leaving the host countries exposed to several risks.
So, as one eighth grade girl from the inner city said at a diversity workshop I attended with my son in October, George Bush doesnt care about me. The government has forgotten us.
How ridiculous to blame the victims for the policies of the US government. The US was
de-industrialized in the late 1970s, early 1980s in order to serve the interests of the very wealthy.
The third point has to do with the two million people in US prisons for drug related crimes. Most of these people are not criminals, but conservative drug laws have made them criminals. If drugs were legal, and sold through pharmacies, first addicts would not be in jail. They would be getting encouragement every time they went to the Pharmacy to get treatment, rather than being pushed to buy more. Drugs would be cheap, so addicts would not be tempted to commit violent crimes in order to get enough money for their next fix. Since cheap legal drugs would eliminate the disproportional profits that attract illegal drug dealers, those related crimes would decrease as well. Who knows, perhaps even a low income man might just get a job and raise his children for a better world.